Medicare Part B patients will suffer if diabetes testing supplies are subjected to competitive bidding prices, concluded a recent survey of more than 800 independent pharmacists.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has indicated that, by 2016, providers of diabetes testing supplies will have to either accept prices established under the mail order competitive bidding process or competitively bid in order to continue participating in the Durable Medical Equipment, Orthotics, Prosthetics and Supplies (DMEPOS) program.
However, in the survey, conducted by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), 84% of pharmacists said that they would probably drop out of the program if they were forced to accept reduced payments or to bid competitively. If their patients were forced to obtain diabetes supplies by other means, 84% of pharmacists said, their patients would suffer a significant impact.
“Such a mass exodus of community pharmacies from Medicare Part B would diminish seniors’ access, and the health complications that could ensue will only increase overall health costs,” said B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, executive vice president and CEO of NCPA.
In addition, 81% of pharmacists reported that the average Medicare diabetes patient visits an independent community pharmacy 2 or more times per month for counseling and/or diabetes testing supplies. Also, 81% regularly deliver diabetes testing supplies to patients (often free of charge), with 28% making 30 or more deliveries per month.